Are The Kids Alright? Modern and Practical Challenges of Minors in Estates and Trusts
As the family unit and technology change—not always in unison—the rights of children as to estates and trusts have become more complicated, which in turn impacts planning and estate and trust administration. How do we structure appropriate provisions for guardians, custodians, and trustees?
Litigation follows when planning is not adequate. This hotbed of controversy includes: adopted children, stepchildren, descendants unknown to or ignored by the decedent, children not born of a traditional marriage, embryonic children, those conceived or born posthumously, and adopted adults. Controversy can also arise if and when parents have the right to inherit, even if they have abused or abandoned the children.
Session 1: Who(se) Are You?
Advances in assisted reproduction technology and changing social views of how a parent-child relationship is created have come together to change the legal meaning of parentage and the creation of family relationships. A family or the fiduciary might encounter adult adoption, equitable parentage, multiple parents, frozen embryos, or surrogate parenting. We will begin a discussion of how these developments might change our explanations to our clients and the drafting of their instruments.
Professor William P. LaPiana, New York, NY (Moderator)
Gerard G. Brew, Newark, NJ
Bruce Stone, Coral Gables, FL
Session 2: Navigating Between the Hard-Knock Life and Easy Street When Passing Assets to Children
Your children can be your pride and joy. They can also be your heirs, legatees, and beneficiaries, even as minors. Does your client intend to leave Little Orphan Annie, or the next Richie Rich? This panel will address the rights of surviving children to receive property from intestate estates as well as whether, when, and how to pass property effectively to children through wills, trusts, beneficiary designations, and will substitutes, and how property received by a minor is managed, either through a guardianship or conservatorship, or through trusts designed for the child’s benefit.
Jane Gorham Ditelberg, Chicago, IL (Moderator)
The Honorable Christine Butts, Houston, TX
Judge James G. Riley (Ret.), FMS Law Group LLC, Chicago, IL
Session 3: (Not Your or) My Generation: Litigation Issues Involving Children
Most clients who engage in planning want to benefit future generations. Members of those future generations are frequently minors and young adults, which always creates unique circumstances, but more so when the governing trust or estate is embroiled in litigation. The panelists will discuss these situations, with topics including virtual representation, the role of trust protectors, proving heirship through DNA testing, the role of guardians ad litem, representing young adults, emancipation of minors, and dealing with parents who live off of their minor children.
Raymond Joseph Koenig, III, Chicago, IL (Moderator)
Shane Kelley, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Robert N. Sacks, Los Angeles, CA
Recorded on June 23, 2018 in Chicago, IL